The band’s name isn’t capitalized, and none of its songs or album names are, either.
But don’t be fooled by this apparent attempt at written tranquility—flor is bringing a heck of a lot of pop-alternative, ALL-CAPS ELATION to the airwaves and concert stages these days.
The second leg of flor’s U.S. tour, in support of its sophomore album “ley lines,” makes a stop at The Broadberry in Richmond on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the band rolls into Baltimore’s Soundstage for another show.
“It’s just more inviting and cleaner when you break it all down,” said lead singer Zach Grace about his band name’s lack of capital letters. “It’s just lowercasing a letter and, contrary to the opposite with allcaps, you’re not being yelled at.”
It’s hard to envision the guys in flor yelling at anything.
In fact, the band’s vibe is totally the opposite, with anthemic tunes, often emotional lyrics and atmospheric undertones that can hypnotize any head-bobbing, indie lover. The band’s first album, “come out. you’re hiding,” was filled with melodic goodness and its follow-up has an added punch of confidence and purpose.
Anchoring the anthems is Grace’s soft and delightfully charming voice. It’s a sound he hasn’t always loved.
“Throughout middle school and high school, people had such a weird way of making me feel insecure or a little bit different … it was tough,” he said. “I grew up hating hearing my voice, and it wasn’t until I started doing musical theater that I realized I had something special and interesting. The more I leaned into it, the more of a voice I realized I had.”
Grace’s path to acceptance of his voice is somewhat similar to his inevitable love of his long, wavy red hair.
“Sure, all the ‘no soul’ jokes got old,” he laughed. “But I always clung to the fact and told everyone that one time my aunt said I have the most beautiful hair. I just focused on that, mentality.”
Since its 2014 inception in Hood River, Ore., the quartet has shared the stage with some pretty big-time folks, including Walk the Moon, Paramore and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. As for who’s on the top of its list to rock with next?
“If we could collaborate with the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club or work with Tegan and Sara … I tell you—it would be hard to not be nervous up there,” said Grace.
Among the factors that Grace says contributed to the band’s success and stellar collaborations is its record label, Fueled by Ramen.
The Florida-bred label, now based in NYC, has been in the biz since 1996 and is also the musical home to Nate Ruess of fun., Panic! at the Disco and Twenty One Pilots. Its alums include Fall Out Boy, Dashboard Confessional, Jimmy Eat World and Sublime with Rome.
“If you had told me that we’d be on Fueled by Ramen, I wouldn’t believe you,” said Grace. “To make that connection … it was pretty hard to collectively keep our cool. That was really the only brand we cared about and were brand loyal to. They champion creative freedom and let us be true to ourselves.”
As for what’s next for Grace and the flor crew? The band’s keeping it simple.
“I didn’t really make any resolutions this year … but it is important for us to continue being productive,” said Grace. “And I’m making a conscious effort to not look at my phone so much.”